Keith Dawson

Keith Dawson, a man convicted in connection with a drive-by shooting that turned fatal after his stepson was shot, will be sentenced for his crimes.

A father has admitted guilt for his part in the Woodbury drive-by shooting in 2021 that killed his stepson outside a high school graduation party.

On June 5, 2021, Keith Dawson, 36, of Cottage Grove, fired shots outside a Woodbury graduation celebration to frighten some young males who were allegedly menacing his children. Demaris Hobbs-Ekdal, 14, was shot by the young guys when they returned fire, killing him.

On Monday, October 17, Keith Dawson entered a plea guilty to a charge of drive-by shooting with a dangerous weapon. He admitted during the virtual hearing that he received a call from his son, went to the graduation party, and then shot his revolver out of his car window.

Although he is permitted to plead for less, court documents indicate that he is willing to accept 104 months in jail (more than eight years) when he is sentenced. Before his sentencing at 1:15 pm on January 6, 2023, he must cooperate with a pre-sentencing investigation.

This guilty admission was made more than a month before the start of his trial, which was set for November 28.

Keith Dawson
Keith Dawson Image. Source: Pioneer Press

Keith Dawson pleads guilty to charges connected to a fatal drive-by shooting.

According to investigators, Keith Dawson was operating a white Chevrolet Tahoe on the night of the incident. When he learned his stepson Demaris Hobbs-Ekdahl, 14, was hurt, Dawson originally told police he just went to the location to pick him up. However, Dawson later acknowledged playing a bigger part in the event after learning otherwise.

According to the criminal complaint, Dawson informed police that Demaris had called and asked for assistance because he and his brother were robbed. Multiple men drew a pistol on Demaris’ brother Davion, according to FOX 9. The group, which included Demaris, left the party and ran into Dawson at a hotel. Dawson informed the group that they had to return to the party to confront the other guests.

According to Woodbury police, Dawson drove to the scene of the incident on Edgewood Avenue to frighten the other group because they were “messing with his kids.” Dawson fired several shots at a shadowy SUV, and the group responded by firing back.

Keith Dawson claimed he was unaware Demaris and other people had followed him to Edgewood Avenue in a Kia Forte at the time. Shots fired from the shadowy SUV struck the Kia, striking Demaris inside. Dawson attempted to get Demaris to a hospital after learning of his injuries and loading him into his Tahoe. Dawson threw his weapon out the window on the way there, and the police later discovered it.

Drive-by shooting, two counts of second-degree assault, and illegally possessing a firearm were the initial charges against Dawson.

In connection with the death of Demaris, 14, Jaden Townsend, 19, of St. Paul, and Enrique Davila, 23, are both accused of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and many counts of aiding and abetting second-degree assault. According to the charges, a 17-year-old teenager is included as one of the suspects in the shooting.

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